Miles Davis voted greatest jazz artist of all time

Votes were cast by listeners of BBC Radio and Jazz FM

Miles Davis has been voted the greatest jazz artist of all time in a new poll compiled by the BBC.

Votes were cast by listeners of BBC Radio and Jazz FM. The listeners picked from a shortlist of 50 musicians put together by a panel of BBC jazz presenters, Jazz FM presenters, jazz musicians, critics, and journalists.

The final Top Ten was compiled by pop-up digital radio station BBC Music Jazz, a partnership between the BBC and Jazz FM.


Born in 1926, Davis was a jazz pioneer, responsible for many key developments in the genre. A trumpeter, composer and band leader, his 1959 album Kind Of Blue is widely regarded as his greatest work.

See the Top Ten below:

Miles Davis
Louis Armstrong
Duke Ellington
John Coltrane
Ella Fitzgerald
Charlie Parker
Billie Holiday
Thelonious Monk
Bill Evans
Oscar Peterson

The life of Miles Davis has been marked in the new film biopic Miles Ahead directed by actor Don Cheadle.

The film focuses on a period of the artist’s life in the ’70s when he took a break from music. The trumpeter is played by Cheadle himself, backed by a cast including Ewan McGregor.

Cheadle said: “Miles was many things… a supreme artist and a national treasure but also an enigma to those around him, especially during his so-called quiet period.”

“With the family’s blessing and Miles’ tenets on creativity as our guide, we used these cloistered years as a jumping off point to compose the story of a self-exiled artist creating his own ‘centrifugal adventure’ to spin himself back into playing music again”.

Watch a documentary about the making of the film below.